When we think of you,
We remember how your faith unfolds into works of love;
How you persevere in hope, even when times are tough.
Your hope gives us hope;
Your joy brings us joy
Your faith inspires faith;
Your life shines life into our lives.
No wonder we give thanks to the Holy One
Whenever we remember you.
You embody the Spirit of grace
Who makes us one within the One.
No one can say, ‘Look! I made the candle burn.’
Instead what burns in you lights up another
And it goes on and on.
[a meditation on 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3]
[photo by Gregory Gill per cc 2.0]
Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity – it did not need changing! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.- Richard Rohr
Could this be true?
The crucifixion was unnecessary.
God did not require it – we did.
It was not God who demanded sacrifice as the gateway to reconciliation.
God’s power to love and forgive was never held hostage to some cruel death.
Love has always been more powerful than sin.
We are the ones who required blood-sacrifice.
We believed so deeply that the price of sin was death
That we would not accept God’s love and reconciliation without it.
So, Christ, who came for reconciliation,
Who came to show us love,
Met our conditions.
God’s desire for relationship was so deep
That God yielded to our obstinate delusions
To prove in ways that only we demanded
The awesome, terrible depth of love.
God does not love us more – or less – because of the crucifixion.
But we can now accept forgiveness
And find a way to receive and return that love.
That is God’s desire – that we would love in return.
God will do whatever it takes to help us find the way to love.
[image cropped from a photo by Steve Snodgrass per cc 2.0]
Let us make humans in our image; according to our likeness – Genesis 1:26
Richard Rohr offers a nugget of understanding:
The image is Christ in me;
The likeness is how I live it out.
I like that – that I can somehow be like.
Then, I might actually like myself.
[photo Thomas Rousing by per cc 2.0]
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.
— Abraham Lincoln
The tyranny of self, of course, leads to the tyranny of others.
When self rules – at least the self that wants it all –
There is no freedom.
Once again the mystery –
Giving is receiving.
An open hand liberates.
[photo by Thomas Hawk per cc 2.0]
This is the way forward:
For just a moment to release my fears
And to turn in grateful joy to notice the kindness around me
And to smile and give thanks for its presence
To point it out to others
And to laugh together in the sheer delight of such beauty.
Help me salt my days with the recognition of these simple gifts:
A sip of cool water or warm coffee,
Someone opening the door for me,
A kind word,
A silly joke,
A true hug.
You are still here among us.
You have not given up.
Nor will I.
[photo by Riccardo Francesconi per cc 2.0]
Quiet, quiet, quiet
Quiet as a mouse
I am the quietest
One in the house!
Our old patterns sneak back into our lives with unyielding persistence. We can’t keep them quiet. We don’t even see them coming till they are shrieking in our ears and we find ourselves back in the same old conundrums.
A recent post by a thoughtful pastor friend reflects upon ultimate authority – and how it shapes our communities of faith. It made me wonder: when push comes to shove, what is my ultimate authority?
I’ve lived long enough, failed enough, deceived myself enough to know that I need an authority outside myself. I just can’t trust myself to be right all the time, even when I really, really think I am. Yet, there is no other human who meets the criteria, either. All are subject to the smallness of our own souls and our own perspectives. Continue reading